The cab driver let me out on the fringe of town. I was an outsider, from a very conservative town. This city was different though. It had every ethnicity and culture you could imagine.
I had been having the weirdest dreams. There was one theme that kept repeating. I dreamed I was going to my grocery store as usual, but as I neared the area there was a police blockade. As I came to a stop a cop looked in the window and told me there had been trouble up ahead.
"I'm just going to the grocery store. I won't be very long."
He looked at me with a mixture of pity and disdain. "Haven't you heard? That store has been closed for two days. They had put up a sign, 'Closed because of lack of deliveries, shelves empty.' People couldn't believe it so they smashed the doors down to get some food. They found out the food was gone and the lights were out. So they moved out to the suburbs in search of something to eat."
This was my dream. I had more similar dreams. Was I being warned?
That brought me to the book store in a nearby town. People in the know said the Radical Book Store had all kinds of books, like for conspiracy nuts. As I entered the rather run-down store, I was greeted by a clerk wearing a revolver in his belt.
"Can I help you?" he said as he sized me up.
" I'm looking for books on wild foods, like nutritious weeds."
"Sure, we've got 'em." As he showed me to the section on food he told me, "A lot of people have been asking for books like that recently. Some even say they've had bad dreams about food shortages and want to be prepared."
He shook his head as he told me this. He thought people would buy books on political solutions to the coming food problems, but these were radical people and that was what the store was for. "Here's one that's very popular," he said. Stockpiling the Survival Pantry. The cover showed a smiling couple standing in front of of thousands of dollars worth of canned food.
"That's not quite what I'm looking for. I'm looking for something about natural food. Something you could find anywhere growing wild."
"Oh sure I get it." He pulled one down from above. "This one is a big seller. We have trouble keeping it on the shelf. This is more in the line you're thinking of."
I looked at the cover. Cooking Wild Foods in Your Microwave. I continued to scan his collection. Baking Wild Plant Bread in Your Convection Oven. None of them dealt with the theme I had in mind. Survival spices was a popular topic, as was staying in place until the crisis is over.
I was about to turn away and leave, when I saw Leaving on Short Notice and Eating What You Find. I clutched it until I got to the desk which served as a check out counter. "I'll take this one," I said.
He handed me my change. "Please don't get the wrong idea about this pistol I'm wearing. It's just for keeping people away. You know, the mobs."